Maja Pawinska Sims 06 Dec 2023 // 3:09PM GMT
LONDON – Brands2Life, the agency founded in 2000 by Giles Fraser and Sarah Scales, has been 100% acquired by Paritee, the holding company set up in 2021 to create a new EMEA agency platform.
Brands2Life will remain a stand-alone brand run by Fraser, Scales and their management team and board. Paritee CEO Jonas Palmqvist, who joined at the start of 2022 after being Weber Shandwick EMEA chief operating officer, becomes chairman of the agency.
It is envisaged that the Brands2Life brand over time will be extended to other markets. As part of the deal, there are also plans to expand Brands2Life’s presence in the US.
As a majority employee-owned trust (EOT) – the largest in the UK PR sector – all employees who are currently at the agency and have been there for more than eight months will benefit financially, as shareholders, from the sale.
Paritee was formed in 2021 by Lars Erik Grønntun, formerly global president of Hill & Knowlton, to create a new agency network and collaboration model, bringing together agencies operating in high-value and transforming sectors – such as technology, energy, healthcare, mobility and financial services – in key markets.
The group, which is backed by Scandinavian private equity firm Explore Equity, acquired leading Scandinavian agency, Geelmuyden Kiese, in 2021.
Palmkvist (pictured, left) told PRovoke Media: “Brands2Life will be a major cornerstone of Paritee. I’ve admired the agency for many years, and have been impressed by the award-winning work, lasting growth, strong margins, their in-depth sector expertise, especially in technology and healthcare, and they are at the forefront globally when it comes to digital social and influencer. We’re also very impressed by what they have achieved in the US in a short period of time.”
Brands2Life has a team of around 200 across London, New York, Minneapolis and San Francisco. Its current client portfolio includes Adyen, Arup, Barclays, Cognizant, Hologic, LinkedIn, Qlik, Tetra Pak, VMware, Vitality, Vodafone and Xero.
Fraser (pictured, second right) told PRovoke Media: “We’ve always been fiercely independent but when Paritee came to us earlier this year we really like them and their vision – it’s the first time we’ve ever felt comfortable with a potential partner. Being part of the group will help grow our capabilities in public affairs, corporate and advisory, and on the flip side we can bring tech, digital and social capabilities to their other agencies.”
Scales (second left) added: “As a partnership it really does work for all of us, and our clients. Paritee really gets what makes Brands2Life so special, including our culture, and there’s a real opportunity to accelerate growth through the partnership. We’re not going anywhere, we’ll continue to run the business with leadership team and board. Being the cornerstone of Paritee in EMEA is fantastic, and we’re really excited about being part pf the group in Europe and beyond.”
The agency also leads the Brands2Life Global Network to serve international clients, and this will continue to operate. Fraser and Scales were honoured with an outstanding achievement SABRE award by PRovoke Media in 2021.
Grønntun (pictured, right) described Brands2Life as “the pre-eminent national champion in UK’s communications industry with an outstanding track-record of success and a unique client proposition.” He added: “Partnering with Paritee caters for a cornerstone position for Brands2Life in a growing family of leading European agencies with high ambitions for the future. Together we aim to take the agency to its next level, building the ties between the Nordics and the UK, and offering strengthened strategic support to all clients and more opportunities for people.”